A new law in Kansas leaves transgender people with a mixed bag when it comes to how they can present their identities. The troubles extend all the way to their very roots. Here is the full story.
In July, Kansas officially began recognizing just two genders, the traditional male and female.
What’s more, the state now says your classification can’t change after birth.
A Legal Battle
The new law was vetoed by Democrat governor Laura Kelly, but Republicans in the state congress overrode her attempted block.
She Changed the Tone
This battle has been brewing ever since Kelly took office in 2019 after a string of Republican governors.
She Gave Them New Rights
Once in office, Kelly set a policy that allowed transgender people to request new official documents that accurately reflect their current gender identities.
Backed by the Court
That same year, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s residents have complete control over their own body and gender identities.
Federal Courts Agreed
And a federal judge upheld Kelly’s new policies, saying that state agencies would have to update official documents for trans people going forward.
They Flocked to Change
In the years since, hundreds of Kansas citizens have changed their gender on driver’s licenses and birth certificates.
There’s a New Law in Town
But Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach went back to that federal judge in June 2023 to ask for him to lift his earlier decision.
They conflicted with the new law, Kobach said.
Back to State Courts
The judge agreed and said any challenges would now have to go through the state courts.
There Were Sweeping Changes
The new law restricting official gender changes set up a slew of legal battles and all but assured there would be some immediate changes.
Health Department Weighs In
In mid-September, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment fired one of the first shots in the battle over gender designations on official documents.
No Birth Certificate Changes
Leaning on the new law, the Department of Health announced that they would no longer be changing gender designations on birth certificates.
He Set a Precedent
This follows a similar move by a Kansas judge early in the summer to ban changes to gender on state driver’s licenses.
Lawsuits Lining Up
That ban will last at least through January of 2024, though the transgender community is fighting back.
Five trans people, assisted by Lambda Legal, plan to challenge the law on the basis it violates their constitutional rights.
She Is a Realist
For now, Governor Kelly is still vocal in her beliefs, but is also aware of the realities involved in the current situation.
Privacy Is Important
“As I’ve said before, the state should not discriminate or encroach into Kansans’ personal lives,” Kelly says.
She Has to Follow the Law
But she admits the trans community is sort of stuck for now: “However, I am committed to following the law.”
They’ll Fight All the Way
With neither side willing to budge, most experts expect the battle over transgender rights to go all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court, or maybe even beyond.
More Than Just a Feeling
For now, transgender people in Kansas are left with no way to complete their identity transformation.
And, beyond the psychological impact that can have, it also makes for some logistical nightmares.
Many trans people point out the difficulties they’ve had in traveling when the gender on their documents does not match how they present.
Struggles on the Horizon
Unfortunately, that’s just one of the many struggles trans Kansas residents will have to fight through until 2024 at least.
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The post Kansas Has BANNED Gender Transition – The Legal Barriers Just Became Ironclad first appeared on Pulse of Pride.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / IvyJW0821. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.